Those folks at HBR know a thing or two

It’s been a while and no doubt you’ve missed my random musings about life, business, marketing and communications. I’m here because I read a piece that I think is worth sharing when evaluating your digital presence. In reading it you realize those folks at HBR.com know a thing or two.

I have been pulled form the darkness however to comment on this HBR piece – which is fantastic and I couldn’t have authored a better piece myself (otherwise, I’d be a published HBR contributor and not, well…. ). Anyway this piece turns management insights about competition on its head a bit and I like that. Call it a disruptive piece, call it new aged thinking, I’m not sure I really care, but the essence is evaluating your business model not based on your competition but your customers.

The digital now culture has for the past generation rapidly and assertively modified business models, where disruption is the norm. The kicks traditional business norms in the ass suggesting that “We believe the greatest challenge to companies today is not keeping up with their competitors, but with their own customers.”  I love this. So many firms, large and small ‘think’ they focus on their customers and yet more often than not in my experience these firms are actually focused on what everyone else is doing.

It rings so true to me that large organizations, those who chase the competitors tail, are often laggards in digital transformation because they are simply not nimble enough to do it. The article goes on to note “One reason is that individuals are transforming to digital faster than organizations. Think for a moment about people as tiny enterprises. They’ve redesigned their core processes in the area of procurement (online shopping), talent acquisition (marketplaces), collaboration (social networking), market research (peer reviews), finance (mobile payments) and travel (room and ride sharing). Have you reinvented your core processes to the same degree?” This is music to my heart.

Of course, but there are the issues of practicality. Can organizations shift as fast as individuals no, could they shift faster? Absolutely. The bigger question remains ‘should they’ be so fleet to change process/structure/output to adapt to the rapid advances in consumer behaviour? The authors seem to think so.

There are some really well polished notions of improving engagement and experience through the use of digital that will require organizations to fundamentally evaluate their place and role and likely, require some outside feedback to help channel the discussions.

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